Maintenance culture and the inefficient monitoring capacity in Nigeria

share on:

During wedding preparations, brides employ professional and expensive makeup artists to decorate their faces and bodies with special cosmetics. Yet, after the initial decoration, the chief bridesmaid stays close to monitor and adjust the bride’s decoration and general appearance. She holds a small container of extra cosmetics, napkins and other decoration equipment to refresh the bride’s beautiful appearance. Without the help of efficient bridesmaids for monitoring and maintenance, the bride’s appearance may deteriorate midway into the celebration. Also, without monitoring and maintaining national development and infrastructural projects in the society, they depreciate or become harmful.

Progressive societies are formed by the different peoples’ agreement to collaborate in developing their resources for producing what they need. These societies institute different governing bodies for enabling and harmonizing the productive capacities of the different parts of the society. The governing bodies are materially and legally empowered to facilitate enabling circumstances for people’s education, security, maximum productivity and sustenance. Hence, various governments undertake widespread education and industrialization to encourage the highest possible productivity, wealth-creation and happiness among their citizens. Also, governments enable citizens to research and utilize their resources for providing schools, hospitals, roads, houses and other social amenities.


Like other elements in nature, these wonderful projects begin to depreciate with time and constant use. Hence, reasonable governments institute periodic monitoring agencies for evaluating and repairing these projects according to their lifespan or deterioration. These agencies approve, tax and continually monitor the quality of service and infrastructure provided in the society. In cases where government agencies are not responsible for maintaining private projects, they still monitor these projects and establishment for quality before and after licensing them. This is why many service institutions and infrastructural edifices in developed nations last several years and still retain their standard service.


Observing the scale of infrastructural decay in Nigeria suggests an absence or inefficiency of maintenance and monitoring activities in Nigeria. The stadiums, airports, public universities, food industries, hospitals, roads, waste-management, water-cooperation, electric connections and other institutions exemplify the decay. Apart from the physical decay of these establishments, the moral decay results in low-quality education, dangerous infrastructure and dangerous consumer goods and services. Even some locally owned private establishments seem lacking in the monitoring and maintenance culture for sustaining establishments. Some factors responsible for this pitiable situation resulting in lack of project monitoring and maintenance include:

  • Nigeria’s social structure: Colonialists formed Nigeria by brutally yoking several kingdoms and communities under a militarized government for controlling and exploiting natural resources.[1] The militarized government seizes and auctions different peoples’ mineral resources with the pledge of providing social services for the people.[2][3][4] Hence, National assembly, 36 states, 774 local governments, kingdoms, cities and wards continuously beg the totalitarian federal government for social services. The insufficiency and frustration in unsuccessfully begging for social services often weakens people’s zeal to maintain their environment. This attitude eventually permeates into the peoples private and official lives, to neglect damages or seek excuses.


  • Nigerians’ incapacity to build the infrastructure themselves: due to the confiscation of mineral resource, Nigerians are unable to practically develop their capacity for producing social service amenities.[5] Even when they develop the practical capacity outside Nigeria, they are politically denied access to resources for producing what they need. Hence, everybody depends on the central government to import amenities for social service.


  • Avenue for embezzlement and rewarding loyalists: the central government reserves the right to award contracts to any company for any project it deems fit. With this provision, insincere government officials can award highly inflated and unsupervised contracts to their cronies’ loyalists’ or personal companies. Since the contract-winning companies are more interested in the funds, they may not provide any or quality services for their pay.


  • No independent industrial courts for prosecuting project mismanagement: the imposed Nigerian constitution enables the executive government to appoint,[6] dismiss and fund the chief judge. Dependent on executive for appointment and funding, the judiciary may not be confident to prosecute executive cases of project mismanagement.


  • White elephant projects do not align with people’s needs: social services generate enough funds for monitoring and maintenance through the people’s constant patronage. However, insensitive governments install expensive, alien and complex infrastructure that do not respond to the people’s immediate needs and culture. Thus, the infrastructure may not generate funds for monitoring and maintaining such inflated infrastructure. For instance, building an Etihad-standard stadium for a jobless, uneducated and uncomfortable people may not yield returns apart from vandalism. Instead, building industries, schools and banks that respond to people’s immediate needs of productivity and sustenance promises better returns.


  • Alienated educational system: Due to Nigeria’s social structure and money economy, parents neglect their domestic duties and children’s informal education in pursuit of money. The formal education system emphasises memorization and reproduction of information without physical intervention for getting things done. Hence, there is a corporate disposition to miraculously command maintenance of existing infrastructure through computer or prayers.

Despite these factors, the average Nigerian loves to see and use beautiful things, even if he does not understand it. Fortunately, Nigerians are always ready to cooperate and contribute in achieving defined social goals when properly enlightened and integrated. Yet, like education, monitoring and maintenance culture may not be cultivated in Nigeria without reorganizing the social structure. For as long as the people are unable to utilize their resources in solving their own problems, monitoring and maintenance may not be possible. Hence, the different peoples brutally yoked into Nigeria and denied access to their resources will negotiate for a new way.


  • Reorder the social structure: Nigeria’s disjointed ethnic communities and kingdoms will discuss and agree on how to partner with one another in Nigeria. They will begin to train their people to utilize their resources for producing what they need and trade. These different sections will contribute an agreed percentage of their productive earnings to the central government as tax. Then the centralizing government will be charged to provide the necessary amenities for trade and productivity between the sections.


  • Nigerian engineers will provide their infrastructure and overtime maintenance: when Nigerians are able to utilize their resources for producing what they need, they will also be contracted to produce goods and services. And by providing quality social amenities, more sections in Nigeria will contract them for more patronage. Conditions for getting construction contracts will include 5-10 years maintenance for the physical infrastructure they provide.


  • Establishment of industrial courts: a sincere government of the people will create and enable special courts for academic and industrial cases in Nigeria. Thus, academic malpractices, project mismanagement, supply of substandard goods and services to the public will be properly corrected with jail terms. Even the members of the monitoring agencies may be corrected with jail-terms for intentionally or unintentionally overlooking substandard social service establishment. Their correction becomes more important if a Nigerian is injured or adversely affected by their failure to monitor and maintain the good and services. Hence, they will not only be corrected for carelessness, but will be required to pay for the injured person(s) damages.


  • Focus on necessary projects for the society: with more inclusion in deciding projects, the several sections formed from the agreement of ethnic communities will decide and focus on the relevant social services for enabling productivity and progress among their people. These projects will focus on schools, specific industries for specific sections and financial institutions for the schools and industries.


  • Repositioning Nigerian education for developing a responsible mentality and maintenance culture. The civil education for social responsibility will be improved and taught in families through mass-media, schools, religious and social gatherings.


Though it appears difficult, Nigerians will cultivate a maintenance culture that will be responsible for Nigeria.


[1] cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p.445

[2] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2

[3] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[4] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[5] Ogban Ogban-Iyam, Re-Inventing Nigeria through Pre-colonial Traditions In Issues in contemporary political economy of Nigeria.edited by Hassan A. Saliu. (Ilorin: T.A. Olayeri press, 1999). P73

[6] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, section 231.